What to do with old fur coats and stoles?

images-1There’s an old fur coat in the closet. Or two. Or more. What to do with them?

The answer will depend largely upon your feelings about wearing animal fur.

People who are anti-fur will want to consider donating the coat to the Humane Society, which promotes cutting up old furs to use as surrogate mothers for orphaned mammals, making their nests warm and comforting. Search the Wildlife International  database for a list of nearby rehabilitation centers. Or donate to PETA where they will pass an old fur coat on to a homeless person, who, according to PETA, “are the only people who have an excuse to wear fur.”

1915ReliableFurCoats1Those with no moral objections to wearing fur need to learn what sort of fur they have. Is it chinchilla or weasel? Leopard or mink? Your local fur dealer will identify it for you for free and give you some ideas. They can appraise too, but that might have a small cost. Identifying the fur is the first step. After that, you can:

–donate to a theatrical program at a local little theater, high school, or university,

–have it remodeled and updated at a furrier’s to wear again,

–donate or sell for arts and crafts, or make something yourself (a collar, muff, handbag, pillow, or vest),

–sell directly on eBay or other site, bearing in mind that traditional styles sell best,

–sell to online businesses such as Cash for Fur Coats or to one of the three main used fur dealers in the U.S. (Henry Cowit in NY, Ritz Furs in NY, or Chicago Fur Outlet—find information online) where they buy outright or sell on consignment,

–sell on consignment at a local secondhand clothing shop,

–trade in at your local furrier for credit toward another coat.

Furs are like cars, they depreciate dramatically the day you walk out of the shop and are generally worth less than you think. They also don’t last as long as you think, so if you find an old fur, it may be worthless. Some minks, if well cared for, might last fifty years, but if the fur has been stored in the attic or basement, it has probably been ruined by heat, moisture, or pests.


About Mary Miley

I was born at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, where my father taught tactics to the cadets, so it's no surprise that my earliest memories are of the Corps drilling on the parade grounds to the rhythm of the Army band. I attended public schools in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and France, then worked my way through the College of William and Mary in Virginia as a costumed tour guide at Colonial Williamsburg, experiencing first hand the pleasures of wearing 18th-century attire during the sweltering summer. After putting my husband through law school selling cheese in Cleveland—aw, come on, it was a recession!—I returned to Williamsburg for a masters degree in history and a full-time job at Colonial Williamsburg, working with antiques and reproductions. It was there that I really learned how to write and how to make history come alive. When my children were young, I left Williamsburg for a thirteen-year stint teaching American history and museum studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and at the same time consulted with museums across the country on matters retail and financial. A free-lance writer since 1986, I have published a dozen nonfiction books and more than 200 magazine articles, most on history, travel, and business topics. During the past few years, I've branched into fiction, writing the first two of a mystery series and a romantic suspense, all set in the 1920s. The first, THE IMPERSONATOR, won the national contest for Best First Crime Novel and was published in 2013 by St. Martin's/Minotaur; its sequel, SILENT MURDERS, came out in 2014. I live in Richmond, Virginia, with my husband, an attorney. My greatest pleasures are traveling, playing the pipe organ with all the stops out, and reading mysteries.

Posted on June 29, 2013, in Clothing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I recently acquired an old fur from a thrift store in VA and I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do with it. It’s not too old fashioned to wear, but its from a boutique in Italy and I think it may be vintage.

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